Not less than 721 members of staff of Federal Government agencies secured employment using forged academic certificates between 2015 and 2018, The PUNCH learnt on Wednesday.
A document obtained by our correspondent in Abuja, indicated that the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission detected the figure after it carried out certificate verification of six government agencies.
The six agencies are Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, Nigeria Immigration Service, Nigeria Prisons Service, Pension Transition Arrangement Department, Federal Fire Service and National Identity Management Commission.
At the end of the exercise, the commission was able to verify academic certificates of 40,808 staff of the six Federal Government agencies.
According to the figure obtained by our correspondent, 11,996 certificates had been verified by the commission, while 721 certificates were found to have been forged.
An ICPC source, who spoke to our correspondent on condition of anonymity, said that investigation was still ongoing to determine the authenticity of the other certificates submitted by staff of the concerned agencies.
He said the task was being carried out in conjunction with academic institutions that appeared on the certificates, adding that about 5000 certificates had been cleared by some of the institutions as at April 2019.
The figure obtained by our correspondent, which was verified by the ICPC source, said that between 2015 and 2018, assets worth N2.62bn were recovered by the agency from those who were found guilty of misusing their position as public officers. They included 158 government vehicles, buildings, plots of land and farmlands.
The source said, “ICPC was contacted to verify the authenticity of academic and professional certificates of staff at the six FG agencies. Some of the certificates have been returned but we have 721 certificates verified to have been forged. Those who submitted the said certificates are still in court while we have secured varying degrees of court judgment for some of them. It is still an on-going exercise.”
Another figure obtained by our correspondent from the spokesperson for the ICPC, Mrs Rasheedat Okoduwa, revealed that between 2015 and 2019, cash worth N29bn was recovered by the commission from individuals and organisations, while 66 convictions were so far recorded. She added that within the period, 273 cases were filed by the commission in various courts across the country.